Tag Archives: large smelly boys

The Oscar goes to Large Smelly Boy!

Briefly, the stories I could tell .../Wikimedia Commons

By Laura Grimes

Dear Mr. Scatter,

Thank you for cleaning the little black skillet before bailing again. It is duly noted that you mentioned it before you left and again on the phone. Please note that I have performed my wifely duty by appreciating it out loud. Now if you could just solve the little matter of getting the man-children to stop eating and requiring fried eggs, we could keep the little black skillet clean and our marriage contract would not be necessary.

No. Wait. That’s not what I meant.


The jig is up with the Large Large Smelly Boy. We’ve been found out. Even though he hasn’t deigned to read the blog for months or have any technological connection with me besides texting when he needs a ride, he was looking at my computer screen while I was logged on to the blog, and he wanted to know about a recent comment in a post. I think his question went something like, “What was that about Nancy Farmer? Deliciously disturbed? Leather lampshades? What’s that all about?”

I said, “It’s in a blog entry. You can read it. Here.” And I clicked. Then I turned away and started to leave. I paused. “Sorry I’m sending you to Greenland.”

Continue reading The Oscar goes to Large Smelly Boy!

Potions, passions and a poetic pot-boiler

Mad science at work/Wikimedia Commons

By Laura Grimes

Dear Mr. Scatter,

We have one zany concoction brewing here.

I noticed you waxed on about prunes and mustard recently. So I’ll wax some more about prunes (figuratively) and mustard (literally). The Large Smelly Boys helped throw a few more beastly things into the pot.

First the prunes. The feral teen was less feral today. I think the large dose of sleep helped. His body clock and all his inner-workings have been out of whack since school started. We finally went over his …


The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy FarmerFelix/Martha and I have been studying up on all the books that are going to be used in his division this year for the Oregon Battle of the Books. (Last year’s competition was an unbelievable nail-biter, and I’m not just saying.) We’re excited about several titles, but especially The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer. Once we started reading her astonishing bio on her website we just couldn’t stop.

So, we have prunes, mustard, Nancy Farmer, those drat safety agreements, and a few more surprises swirling together. I hardly know where one ends and another begins.

Continue reading Potions, passions and a poetic pot-boiler

Saints preserve us: The steamy details

Pick a little, pack a little

By Laura Grimes

(Editor’s note: Sorry, you seem to be stuck with me. Mr. Scatter appears to be AWOL. Well, not AWOL. More like … A. He’s been traveling. B. He’s been canning. C. He’s been busy. … Hope you don’t mind.)

Perfecting the art of preserving requires more than an oversized canner and a jug of formaldehyde. It requires knowing all the naughty little secrets. Let me save you the trouble of trial and error and spill all the valuable lessons I’ve brought to a boil over the years:

Continue reading Saints preserve us: The steamy details

How to not buy school supplies

By Laura Grimes

Fairy Girl, not exactly what a Large Smelly Boy is looking forCertain laws of buying school supplies are writ large in pink Pearl eraser and are never, ever violated. Herewith the laws:

–You will be slightly irritated with yourself for choosing to shop for school supplies at a certain store despite a bitter memory of hundreds of backpacks conspicuously blocking aisles the first week of school last year and were still supposed to be on sale two days later but had suddenly disappeared and been replaced by Halloween decorations.

–You will be slightly irritated with yourself for choosing to shop for school supplies at a certain store even though some mailing envelopes you bought there a few weeks earlier mysteriously never made it into your shopping bag.

Continue reading How to not buy school supplies

Whisky and the art of cleaning closets

By Laura Grimes

Lonely Girl by Julie LondonDear Mr. Scatter,

I see you have delayed your return to the Scatter front for another day. Be assured that this does not reflect poorly on your dedication as a loving father and husband, though I did have to clean out the little black skillet again, contrary to what it says on our marriage contract.

Everything is fine here. Really. Take as much time as you need.

The Large Smelly Boys have called a truce at the dining table, but only because they know that the new Lego catalog will be mine if they don’t.

We are out of leftover pizza.

Continue reading Whisky and the art of cleaning closets

All’s quiet on the Scatter front

Engraving by H. Humphrey of

By Laura Grimes

Dear Mr. Scatter,

Everything’s fine. Really. No need to hurry home.

Both Large Smelly Boys are making noises about wanting to be an only child, but I’m sure it’s nothing.

The Large LSB has a Judy Garland film on the telly. The Small LSB does not want the Judy Garland film on the telly.

The giant moth you tried to whack with a broom and some choice words is toast. I found it on the stove. It was near the little black skillet.

Don’t worry, I cleaned it — the skillet, not the moth — even though you’re the only one who had eggs for breakfast and it’s etched in the marriage contract that scouring it is your job.

Judy Garland is throwing statues across a room and trashing it. I didn’t know she was left-handed.

Continue reading All’s quiet on the Scatter front

Does this blog make me look fat? Musicals, comedy and a true confession

Cast and set of "She Loves Me" at Oregon Shakespeare Festival/Jenny Graham

By Laura Grimes

Mr. Scatter has been hogging the blog of late. I forgive him, though. It’s not like he’s been eating bonbons. I know full well that he’s the muscle to my muse, the bacon to my trifle.

Art Scatter works to deliver a full-course meal, and I don’t mind being the pastry chef. There’s no shame in that. Funny writing comes with its own tricks and techniques, craftsmanship honed to a sharp wit.

I can’t do what Mr. Scatter does, and, I hate to tell him, but … let’s just say he suggested adding a line to one of my posts a little while back, which was a great idea in thought, but the words – well, I was at a loss how to delicately tell him that he just cast a lead weight in my lightly flowing stream.

I explained that one of the first rules of humor writing is not to reveal an obvious punchline straight off the bat. Take a joke and yank it in another direction and then yank it again. Come in sly on the side, tease it, stretch it and make people reach for it and discover it for themselves. Therein lies all the fun.

And then I stopped talking. I blinked at my current first husband a couple of times. He blinked back at me. I realized I was explaining the craft of writing – to my husband, of all people. But I was explaining a different type of writing than what he’s practiced for eons. It takes a whole different brain from a whole different angle.

Continue reading Does this blog make me look fat? Musicals, comedy and a true confession

Traveling a jumbled, rambly literary road

Oregon Coast near Devil's Churn and Cape Perpetua

By Laura Grimes

We’re traveling, we pack of five breathing each other’s air and bumping inside each other’s heads. We eat the same food. We stop from spot to spot, sightsee, and mere snippets intermingle, weave together something anew and haul us along.

Everywhere we go we pick up words and take them with us. They lift us. They quiet us. We break bread with them. We swirl wine with them. They hang in the air among us.

Our books go from suitcase to table to car to kindle to stereo to suitcase to car to lap to bed.

Each time, bits let loose. Literary crumbs pinch and mold into a new story, unique and unashamed. It becomes our own literary travel journal. Jumbled. Weird. Scattered. And somehow cohered.


The Islands of the Blessed by Nancy FarmerWhen The Large Smelly Boys bicker in the car, I hit play and they magically silence before the almighty audio book. Nancy Farmer, god bless her. Past summers we plowed through her The Sea of Trolls and The Land of the Silver Apples. Just to be safe, we have along her The Islands of the Blessed on iPod, CD and hard copy. Thank heavens, because we’ve used all of them. In less than a week, the hard copy was devoured by two members of the Scatter Family.

Continue reading Traveling a jumbled, rambly literary road

On the road with the centered asterisk

"Asteroidea" from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur, 1904/Wikimedia Commons

By Laura Grimes

When I complained to Mr. Scatter that I had only snippets, no whole stories, he said, “Do centered asterisks.”

“Wha?” I creased my brow.

“Do centered asterisks.”

Like that’s supposed to help me. I’m not sure what the heck he’s talking about.

Oh, wait, there’s one!


Oh, heck. Now it’s gone.

The Scatter Family is on the road. At the moment, we’re at the coast. Longtime Scatter readers know that when we’re at the coast, tradition calls for really roughing it — which means we buy a tub of cookie dough and then race to see if we can bake all the cookies before it’s time to leave. So far, our winning streak is perfect.

Some months back, we plowed through a tub of dough, blogged all about cookies and plungers, and got back home to headlines that the cookie dough had been recalled because of an e. coli outbreak. Coincidence?

Continue reading On the road with the centered asterisk

Free to good home: One pubescent boy

Project Gutenberg's Harper's Young People, March 9, 1880

By Laura Grimes

That headline was a perfectly innocent post on Facebook. How could I not? In the middle of the hot summer, after traveling long distances for two days, after having me all to himself for eons and then having to share me, after heat and humidity made sleeping tough, The Small Large Smelly Boy was, quite simply, in none too delicate terms, cranky. He wouldn’t quit pestering his brother. He wouldn’t quit pestering me. He refused to do a few simple chores. So I was happily ready to ship him to a new address, postage paid. Seemed easy enough.

I was completely unsupervised and I could barter with my children at will. Oops. Sorry. Typo. Try again. I could barter my children at will.

Mr. Scatter was out of town and mostly out of internet range. When he got back maybe he wouldn’t notice the house was a tad quieter.

The Small LSB didn’t have access to his computer anymore, thanks to a well-played Mommy Trump Card.

The Large Large Smelly Boy, in true teen fashion, refused to be seen on the same computer screen with me. He long ago stopped reading this blog. He long ago, in a little tizzy, defriended me on Facebook. Actually, he friended me, defriended me, friended me, defriended me, depending on his mood of the moment. He figured he had the upper hand. I figured I had carte blanche. Unchecked, imagine what I could write about him.

When I posted my innocent comment, at first I got a little friendly pushback from two friends telling me I couldn’t do that. Ethics, you think? It turned out they just didn’t want to be tempted to try the same thing. One was worried she would also throw in one cute 7-year-old sweetie pie who knows it all.

Continue reading Free to good home: One pubescent boy